Double-dipping Twinkies tarnish bankruptcy process

January 11, 2012

Chapter 11 is supposed to give crippled companies a fresh start. Yet, Hostess, the maker of iconic American junk food, has gone bust just three years after emerging from bankruptcy court. Such recidivism should make investors more skeptical about the court’s cleansing power.

Predictions 2012: Upside down and inside out

January 12, 2012

Planet finance has a propensity to turn itself upside down and inside out. It’s up to its old tricks again. A new collection of commentaries from Breakingviews sets the financial agenda for the next 12 months.

Ferretti’s yachts find fitting berth in China

January 12, 2012

The luxury yacht-maker embodies modern finance’s turbocharged highs and lows. Buoyed by the rise of the super-rich, it made one buyout house a fortune, then helped sink another. Ferretti is now being sold to a state-backed Chinese group for around a fifth of its peak valuation.

Carlyle’s big payday does private equity no favors

January 12, 2012

David Rubenstein and two partners pocketed $400 mln of profits last year. The 99 pct - pensioners investing in Carlyle funds - did well alongside them. But the lower tax rate paid by the buyout barons cost Uncle Sam some $80 mln. The timing of Carlyle’s disclosure is impeccable.

A speech on taxes that would help Romney’s run

January 19, 2012

The Republican U.S. presidential front-runner’s private equity background and low personal tax rate have put him in an awkward spot. Romney needs to address them in a way to both quell the attacks and appeal to moderates. Here’s an imagined, if bold, way to handle the matter.

Endemol tussle shows trials of evicting LBO owners

January 24, 2012

After years of wrangling, creditors may soon take stakes in the “Big Brother” producer. A sale may follow. Distressed investors have poured money and manpower into Europe in search of similar deals. But future “loan-to-own” victories will require patience and grit.

Gingrich makes Goldman 4-letter word – to no avail

January 31, 2012

The former House speaker is set to lose Florida despite labeling rival Mitt Romney an agent of the Wall Street firm. But Romney’s similar conflation of Gingrich’s work with Freddie Mac to the housing bust seems to have hit further home. It’s a small victory for Goldman’s image.

April Fool’s comes early to comical M&A market

February 6, 2012

It’s hard not to smirk at America’s largest title insurer buying steak chain O’Charley’s. Not only does it sound like a bad joke, it defies conventional wisdom both on conglomerates and the use of premium proceeds. But for idle bankers, even oddball deals are no laughing matter.

Romney tax row may bite European private equity

February 9, 2012

Mitt Romney’s low-tax private equity payouts caused a storm stateside. European buyout bosses are unlikely to run for high office. But, like the presidential hopeful, they also cash in on “carried interest” schemes which usually avoid income tax. That could change.

Browne’s North Sea idea is more than nostalgic

February 28, 2012

Buying into Fairfield Energy would befit the ex-BP boss, who managed a North Sea oil field in the 1980s. Yet there is sound commercial logic too. Oil prices, and opportunities to scoop up oil majors’ unwanted acreage, have increased since Fairfield pulled its IPO in 2010.